Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2004-

Common name:

Least Tern

Scientific name: Sterna antillarum
Date: 20 April 2004
Time: 15:55-16:15
Length of time observed: 20 minutes
Number: 1
Age: ?
Sex: ?
Location: Lee Kay Ponds, 6000 West 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
County: Salt Lake
Elevation: 4500'
Distance to bird: 30-40'
Optical equipment: Nikon 8X40 binoculars
Weather: Overcast, no wind, 47 degrees
Light Conditions: Excellent
Detailed description of bird: I saw a Least Tern at the same location last year, except it was about 3 weeks later in the year (first spotted May 15, 2003). This year's bird was on the bank preening. It's small size was obvious as was the white "headlight" marking on it's forehead (I was able to observe the white marking with the un-aided eye when I first saw the bird). The yellow beak was also very plainly visible. The bird preened the entire time I watched it so I was not able to observe it's wingbeat.
Song or call & method of delivery: Behavior:
Behavior: Preening
Habitat: Sandy flat near a small pond of water.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
This is the only tern with the "headlight". It's small size was also very apparent. A Black Necked Stilt was nearby and was much larger.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
 I observed this species on many occasions last year at Lee Kay Ponds as well as seeing the Least Tern that was reported on the Utah Lake Airport Dike road around the same time I reported the Lee Kay tern.
References consulted: Sibley's guide.
Description from: Notes taken at time of sighting
Observer: Bruce Robinson
Observer's address: 6533 Daffodil Way, West Jordan, UT 84084
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified this bird: None while I was there, but the GSL Audubon will be visiting there tomorrow.
Date prepared: 20 April 2004  (General Public)
Additional material:  
Additional comments: Again, I didn't have my camera with me this time (just like last year, although this year a photograph would have been much easier to take!! I will be stopping by tomorrow afternoon, armed with my camera!!!